Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Politics & Frames of “Civility” in Gaming

Please watch this short FoxNews video entitled—Huckabee: Civility in Political Rhetoric?

Political conservative, Mike Huckabee’s criticism of a violent left wing video game is featured in this video clip. This video game, like Tax Invaders, discussed in Ian Bogost’s article “Videogames and Ideological Frames” serves opposing political purposes. On the one hand—it works to reinforce democratic ideologies, and on the other—it may help conservatives to further orient their frame in opposition to progressives. Thus it reinforces for progressives and for conservatives their political frames’ as diametrically opposed.
Snapshot of the Videogame (It does seem very violent, not my taste,
but this type of violent videogaming rhetoric exists on both sides.)
What is laughable about Huckabee’s sanctimony in this video is his pretended surprise over the existence of such left wing ideological video games.  Violent and so-called “uncivilized” video games exist on both sides of the political spectrum. We clearly see this in conservative video games, like Tax Invaders with its “taxation as theft frame” that invites its players to save the world from John Kerry’s tax positions (169). I see this video clip as more comical than anything else—for its so-called “civilized” framing of political discourse. Therefore, we see that Huckabees’s video represents and reinforces frames of conservative identity—the frame of the conservative as a “civilized” victim and the progressive as an “uncivilized” murdering, spendthrift who steals personal branding rights from the hardworking conservative politician. Lol… I hope you get a little chuckle from watching this sad video!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rob Mills- Response to The Death of Fiction

The last sentence of this really put me in a pissy mood. "And for Christ's sake, write something we might want to read?" Who does this Ted What'shisface think he is?

Oh... he's the editor for VQR? I see.

But so? He starts the piece with this sad sob story about going to a kids soccer game and the other parents not giving or knowing a hoot about what he does for a living. Sad. This is coming from the editor of one of the most elitist publications in this country. He probably goes to parties and asks people if they've seen movies he knows they haven't seen just to make them feel inadequate. But- but but- after reading the body of this essay, I was starting to think he wasn't so bad. Until he went and said that. (Write something we might want to read? Who the hell does he think he is? And then I was reminded why I personally don't care if every literary review in the country goes out of print. It will keep people like this from having an outlet to spout their superiority complex over the rest of society that aren't privy to the cronyism of academia. He all but admitted in the good old days reviews for places for select individuals to get published- everyone was just helping out their friends. Now, GASP, people actually have to work to get published.

I think the demise of these publications will eliminate the inner-circle of literary academia (I think they call it a community) that gives it the pretentious reek it has today.

The death of fiction? probably not.

This article was a bit depressing to say the least, but there was definitely some good advice to go by and some humor. There was one thing that bothered me though, and that was the fact that the writer said that "writers need to venture out from under the protective wing of academia, to put themselves and their work on the line," when she said that she was an editor at the University of Virginia. I feel like she was standing on the right soap box. However, she still made some good points. There are so many literary magazines, and it seems it is so easy to be published these days that the value of literature has been inflated. With literature becoming less and less mainstream, and with so many literary journals out there, it seems like fiction is becoming diluted by itself. However, I don't think this is such a bad thing. In a society that is driven by competition and survival it will force universities and printing presses to become better and more noticeable, or be pushed out of existence. I don't know how they will do it, but they need to carve out their own niche. What makes them more credible, entertaining, and reliable? It definitely got me thinking on how I could be doing the same thing as a writer. They may reinvent the way they publish their submissions (online, e-books, etc.). I would like to say that it is also a good thing to start publishing with universities at first. They are a place for learning and will help people learn the publishing process. I do agree that people should venture away from this after the first few submissions, but not to avoid it together. For a beginning writer, published is published, and it's how you get started in being a more credible writer.
The death of fiction I feel is a bit of a stretch for this article. It may be the death of a literary magazine; at least a printed one. But fiction will live on. It will evolve, just like it always has. We may consume it differently, but it will always be there along with those who appreciate it.

The Death of (Short) Fiction (Published in Establishment-Supported Literary Journals Run by CW Faculty)?

I spent years writing headlines, so I appreciate the need for a snappy eye-grabber, but this essay isn't really arguing that fiction is dead. It's arguing that well-established, university-funded literature magazines that made their bones publishing modernist fiction in mid-century America are dead or dying. These are two very different theses with wildly different repercussions for both consumers of stories and the writers who pen them.

Intuitively, as an artist whose chosen form is the short story, the idea of fewer outlets existing that may be interested in publishing my work is a bit harrowing. But then I thought about it for a minute and I just don't see this as a big deal.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Multimodal Composition in Classrooms: Relation to the course?

The article for this week, Multimodal Composition in theClassroom, was very interesting for a number of reasons—

- pointed out the possibility of increasing student involvement using technology in the classroom.
            - introduced the term “circulating literacy”
            - challenged the “status quo” of reading/writing classrooms.

It read like a call-to-action as Lalitha Vasudevan, Katherine Schultz and Jennifer Bateman explained the benefits of introducing and allowing students to use multimodal composition.

However, I’m having trouble connecting this reading to our work on the magazine. How does this relate to producing an online magazine?
Looking over several of these other posts and the suggestions of having oral readings of stories or poems available made me think of a particularly awesome podcast, Risk, in which every episode is a compilation of stories people told at various live events. They range from hilarious to troubling, but always it is very compelling tom listen to.

Does a recording of a story, told live, not from a pre-written text, said exactly as if they were saying it to you in person over a beer, count as art/literature?
It's a very immediate sort of nonfiction, but I think if done right it can be considered to be art. Naturally, we all know people who are lousy at telling stories—they get sidetracked, spend time on boring or irrelevant details, repeat themselves, etc. and that's not the kind of "personal storytelling" I'm talking about.

Though you get into hairy territory if you declare that something isn't art just because it isn't GOOD art (thinking of the Twilight conversation from in class).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Response to "The Death of Fiction?"

Well, this was a pretty discouraging read, wasn't it?
But I did take comfort in the fact that this article was dated 2 years ago, when pretty much every industry, including printed media, was treading through some serious pessimism.
And yeah, printed media is kind of screwed and will soon be pushed into niche markets. But fiction, particularly short fiction, falling out of vogue? Maybe then it seemed like it would, but with the exploding success of e-readers and emergence of people like Amanda Hocking (who I haven't read and can't judge the quality of, but whose success provides a model despite whatever the integrity of her work may be), it seems to me like it's easier than ever for fiction writers to make money by self-publishing (a term that will soon lose its negative stigma-indeed, with the help of the Internet, maybe someday all publishing will be self-publishing).

Although I am one of those silly luddite purists who likes the heft, texture, and even smell of an actual book (not to mention it never runs out of batteries), the removal of paper from literature does little to change the soul of the thing; it's still about words, words are the key. Change the type of paper, the font, the binding, and it will be the same book, the same story, the same spirit. This principle applies further to the e-book. The only real difference is convenience.

And I'd like to object to the disdainful tone with which Genoways referred to the blogosphere. I realize that the emergence of blogs poses a very legitimate problem to journalistic integrity and whatnot, but there are examples of blogs that do what newspapers and magazines have done but do it streamlined, more efficiently, and more regularly. These blogs tend to be highly specialized, with a very narrow focus, so for every niche interest there is probably a blog that keeps up to date on the worldwide news regarding that interest. For example, compare the hip-hop magazine XXL to the hip-hop blog 2dopeboyz. XXL is sleeker and has clearly spent more money on web design, which makes sense because they were making money first and for longer than 2dopeboyz. But the 2dopeboyz model is simple, it loads on your computer fast, and its up-to the minute blurbs and updates, not to mention providence of downloads for singles before they even become available on iTunes, allows then to be a lot more efficient. Take any one story from XXL's main page and search for it on 2dopeboyz, and you'll find they covered it a long time ago and have had a hundred new things to tell their readers about since. And the blogosphere has been better for new and emerging artists in hip-hop as well, its free and informationally democratic hype-machine rapidly replacing the record company-to-radio model.

Sorry for that semi-off-topic rant, but this is an exciting time in history and these new models of distribution that are developing may come to shape how business is done in the coming Information Age. Yeah, it's a bummer that all these wonderful old publications that have been so good to so many people for so long are now going under, but some new model is going come up to replace them, something similar to the online magazine we are creating, perhaps. It's just exciting to think about, is all.

I'm optimistic.

Typo in call for submissions

Nobody seems to have noticed this yet. It wouldn't let me make a comment to the wiki page, so I made a comment here.

Distortion of perception is aural, visual, and sensual. It is fun house mirrors and rumor mills. It is a manipulation of noise. It is a mash-up of surrealism, dreams, truth, and memories. Distortion is in an altered and altering. Language, stereotypes, body image, and social boundaries are distorted: airbrushed fantasies on magazine covers, virtual identities and avatars, political misrepresentations, and partial truths in the media. Distortion is artificial and organic. It is a cloned image that contorts reality.

There's either a word missing or there are some extra words in that sentence. It looks like this typo made its way onto the flyer as well.

Is there a way to allow comments on wiki pages from people who aren't on that particular team, without letting them revise the page directly? I think for catching errors like this it'd be useful, plus I think those of us in the criticism team in particular would like some input from everyone else on what direction we should go in, since criticism is a completely new section.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I was looking over the Digital Storytelling website again, and their definition of a digital storyteller reminded me of oral tradition and other mediums that would be an interesting addition to the magazine if given a cyber twist.
I was reflecting back on alternative storytelling and came across an interesting website that got me thinking about a particular form.  With social networks, blogs, etc dominating quite a bit of public online communication

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Response to Thompson and Trubek

I found both of these articles incredibly interesting in the way they called for new and innovative things. I was mostly intrigued by the article on spelling. Although Trubek made some valid and interesting points, I overall disagreed with her. Yes, the English language does have some funky rules and a lot of exceptions, but most people should know these. I think it would be disastrous to change English to be written however people feel is best or easiest. It is lazy for one thing, and would cause a chaotic lack of clarity. Clarity is the main reason for all of English's bizarre rules, to be able to differentiate the meaning of words that sound similar, but mean totally different things and imply, or use different contexts. I would actually argue that auto-correct and spell check have improved my spelling. When I see a word is wrong I look up the proper spelling if I don't already know it and correct it. I do this with the same word whenever it comes up until it is committed to memory and I know longer make the mistake. I also hate it when people send me messages that are densely text speak. The occasional brb or lol is fine but when people start using u for you, r for are or our, and c for see and or sea. In spoken language it is easier to determine which word is being used based off of context. It is not always as easy, and can sometimes be confusing in communicating messages, which can lead to some awkward moments. If English is evolving then let it evolve, but don't make a sudden and drastic change. I don't think that has ever been successfully done in any language at anytime. English will be nothing like it is today a few hundred years from now, just like it isn't the same as a few hundred years ago.
I was for the changes proposed by Thompson however. I don't understand why we do keep old processes for new technologies. I can understand that it is comfortable, makes the transition to the technology smoother, and even adds a bit of retro style, but in the long run I feel it takes away from the technology and its full capabilities. I like new technology, and I get excited when I get to try something new and learn how to use it. This makes the process of switching to a new technology easier and fun. Integrating old processes with new technology is like a weird inefficient oxymoron. It just doesn't make much sense. If you create a new technology, make it new. Make it different, original, and exciting. I love Flipboard by the way!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Response - Anne Trubek

After reading the article, I was stunned to see the comments made about the issue. I agreed with Trubek and I enjoyed her witty writing and found her remarks extremely hilarious and oh so true. But to my surprise, the comments below were unbelievably angry and Anne Trubek was basically slaughtered in them. Scrolling down the comments, I did finally find some positive feedback but the majority of the comments were downright mad and blaming Trubek for being ridiculous and a bad teacher. I could not disagree more. I was stunned by the negativity and I felt like I had read an entirely different text judging by the angry mob invading the commentary section.

picture books are a vestigial order

I like the statement that “picture books are a vestigial order,” and that digital technology bridges the gap between the author and the reader.  So, this all reminds me of a class last semester that proclaimed the hidden value in picture books for adults and children alike because the books require deep thought to decipher the layers.  However, I think the value lies in how these picture books, with the assistance of technology, can come alive for adults and children.  The readers can create the picture and write the story through hypertexts.  This requires well designed learning spaces, but there is and would be multiple ways to engage for all students.  Learning is semiotics, and I don't think anyone would argue that.  I have read about post-progressive pedagogy and Gee’s Situated Learning, and I agree with both.  Interest incites curiosity and the drive for knowledge.  Isn’t this a large part of education's goal?  Also that everyone should be in receipt of an equitable education?  I think too much of today's education is steeped in tradition, and is just too reluctant to move forward.

The readings this week made me think about how technology has impacted my life, and whether or not that is a good thing or a bad thing. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Response - Blair and Cadle

Firstly, I have to comment on the name dropping in the article. I found it very strange that the writer mentions several scholars and other writers and describes them as if the reader knew them personally. In the article,  seemingly irrelevant information of people is given, for example describing how they first met or how they discussed issues over "hot cocoa and coffee" at a conference. This leaves me wondering if it is appropriate (or indeed relevant) to write these kind of facts in an academic article. Will the writer, in this particular "cocoa and coffee" -case, Lanette Cadle, provide the reader with information about her colleagues orange and well-behaving Persian cat in her next article?

The Nuance of "Aura"

George Boornstein’s “How to read a page: modernism and material textuality” posits a thoughtful examination of Walter Benjamin’s concept of “aura” (6). In understanding Benjamin’s argument I found myself questioning the thinness of his position on reproduction and aura. His position seems to assume too much about the reader of an original text, or reproduction. The reader isn’t just seeing the bibliographic codes which may be unique to an original text—they are in effect interpreting the text for themselves, perhaps relating the many textual elements, including the bibliographic codes, linguistic codes, semiotic codes, etcetera to their own experiences and social “presence” in their unique place or presence in time (6).

I actually see the reproduction of texts—not as loosing or denigrating the aura of that text’s unique position in time and place—but as providing the conditions for a nuanced meaning of aura—which only reproduction may afford. Thus original texts through their reproduction and distribution are experienced pluralistically by many readers existing in their own unique presence in time. Here each reader interprets the text for his or herself—bringing new, and more varied meanings to the original text. Many of those readers will further employ concepts from reproduced texts in their own essays, poems, critiques, and reviews—thus rearticulating and sharing their thoughts and understandings of the reproduced text within the context of their unique presence in space and time.

Although, reproduction does lose some of the unique aura of the original text—what it provides is arguably much more powerful. Reproduction affords the opportunity for a nuanced recreation of textual auras where readers engage actively with texts to rearticulate its essences (plural form) for themselves.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Damn You Auto Correct!

I wanted to post about this site as an example of alternative storytelling as I find it incredibly entertaining. Most of you have probably encountered this site before (I'm talking to you Americans) but I, as an exchange student with a nine dollar phone and a mission to avoid smart phones as long as I can, only found this site recently. I have spent hours and hours reading different kinds of Facebook fails which were mentioned in a previous post, but I wanted to make sure all of our freetime goes to waste reading this too, so here you go:


Sunday, February 5, 2012


Kristine Blair and Lanette Cadle’s article “Performing Feminist Community Amid the Politics of Digital Scholarship” provides wonderful examples of academic journals in the field that are living this ideal for “Building A Community Presence” in the digital age. Blair and Cadle’s discussion of Kairos (one of my absolute favorite journals in our field) is a perfect example of a journal that embodies the collaborative, feminist ideal of mentoring—encouraging interactive, multimodal, and team-oriented scholarly projects.

Kairos further has a three-tiered review process, not a two-tiered review process as this article suggests. Kairos is a refereed online open-access journal that publishes webtexts in the field of rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy. As an open-access journal Kairos is free to all users. Each submission to Kairos undergoes a unique and highly collaborative three tiered editorial review process. At the first tier submissions are evaluated for their quality and scholarly credibility. The second tier consists of a two-to-three week review by the entire editorial board in which an assessment is completed to decide whether a submission is a potential candidate to be published in Kairos. If a submission makes it to the third tier, the editors assign a staff member to work with the author to facilitate revisions as needed. After completion of the third tier the author is asked to resubmit their edited submission for a tier one review where the process begins again before a submission is accepted for publication.

Kairos contributors are also asked to employ a variety of creative and hybrid research methods which may include: theoretical, pedagogical, empirical, and historical research. Kairos contributors are provided the opportunity to publish in six different sections [Topoi, Praxis (including: Praxis Wiki’s), Inventio, Interviews, Reviews, and Disputatio] with six different focuses. This design challenges contributors to think outside-the-box and use innovative mediums and methods to propel reader reflection and enhance opportunities for online learning in the field. The very nature of this Journal makes it an incredibly dynamic pedagogical tool for research in the field of rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy. For example, Jennifer Bowie’s webtexts concerning podcasting in computers and writing classrooms (Link) shows the heterogeneity of research methods employed in Kairos webtexts. Bowie’s treatment and goals for this research are clearly pedagogical in that she is explores the practice and implementation of podcast assignments in writing classrooms. Her research is also highly theoretical in that she inspects the controversy surrounding the term “podcasting,” its shared elements with other genres of media, its “rhetorical roots of spoken argument and texts,” and typologies for writing classrooms, including teacher-produced, student-produced, and externally-produced podcasts. We see there is also an empirical component to her research where she provides a review of limited empirical research on podcasting. Finally, we can also understand her research to be historical through the integration of the five cannons as an example for “how podcasting may be used in classrooms to help students rethink ‘old’ writing concepts” that would help bringing old concepts like the five cannons back into students print writing in new ways.

Finally, Kairos calls for very creative and collaborative digital authorship. Justin Hodson, Scott Nelson, Andrew Rechnitz and Cleve Wiese have produced a very compelling and interactive scholastic webtext about the importance of undergraduate multimedia (Link). Additional contributors that collaborated on this project include: Amanda Booher, Cate Blouke, Will Burdette, Anthony Collamati, D. Diane Davis, Marjorie Foley, Sean McCarthy, Lauren Nahas, Justin Tremel, Tekla Schell, & Victor J. Vitanza.

I agree with Blair and Cadle about the importance of implementing more collaborative, coequal, feminist peer-review processes in publishing. Journals like Kairos provide a model for how this can be done and help us to visibly appreciate the benefits of such collaborative, heterogeneous, and multimodal editorial processes.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reading response to Walter Benjamin

Benjamin wrote of how a work of art is reproducible and imitated, this made me think of the resent discovery of a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" that was painted by a pupil of his. The discovery being that it was painted around the same time as the original was created, giving history to the time of existence not only to this piece but to Leonardo da Vinci's as well.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Clandestine & Concept Albums

In 2003, the band AFI put out an album titled "Sing The Sorrow". This album has got to be the most intense Concept albums that I've ever come across with a following unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Is Augmented Reality the New Wave in Alternative Storytelling?

I don't know the answer to the question posed in the headline, but I do know I saw this today and it seems pretty cool—a unique way to combine the physical, tactile beauty of a paperbound book with the hip, cool stuff of the internets. The more important (and sort of facetious) question still lingering before us: Does anyone who's not a poet read poetry?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Computers and Composition Online

Adhering to a feminist community amid the politics of digital scholarship proposes challenges.  Although a non-hierarchical collaboration with graduate students sounds like a promising collaboration, I wonder if the sustainability of the venture is really that promising when ego driven professors forget that they are mentoring new media scholars.  Publishing on-line or in print can become highly political and also serve to validate someone’s self-worth.  So, is writing for a feminist community an exchange for feminist politics?  Individuals may argue that the feminist community is only a privatized self-help if not paired with a feminist call to action.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Question about submissions

So I had a thought this morning about something we may want to clarify about submissions. I'm not sure if the blog is the best place to post this, maybe the wiki would be better because it's less public. However, I can't post to the wiki as I'm unsure how to join it. I've made an account, messed around with it a little, but beyond that I'm lost. Any help would be appreciated.

Anyway, I was talking to a photojournalist friend of mine, and I thought of this situation:

Say someone submits a work with photos in it. I don't mean something like a youtube video, not really multimedia. Just some sort of prose, whether it's fiction, non-fiction, criticism, whatever. The photos are a significant portion of the work; without it, the work wouldn't be the same. The prose is by one person and the photos are by someone else, who also wants to submit photos under their own name (but not the same photos used in the prose piece) separately. Is this allowed or is it considered "cheating" (for lack of a better word)?

Personally, I'll make a pitch for allowing it. It seems fair to me because the work is considered two separate genres, even though one contains the other, and also because the work would be under someone else's name. Even if it were the same person submitting both, since they're still two separate genres, I think it would be fair enough. I can see where some people might disagree, though, so I thought maybe it's best to discuss it and try to clarify where we stand on it before the issue comes up.

What do you all think?